Sunday, 5 July 2015


We visited Argyllshire this weekend.  Having sent off the final big section of the Sailing Directions manuscript to the publisher it was wonderful to pack up and head off for a few days.  It felt a bit like the end of exams ... phew!  Done, finished, finito!

We were invited to join friends at a BBQ out on the coast. As a concession to my... or our ... advancing years I requested that we upgrade our usual overnight arrangement (tent) so managed to book Bed and Breakfast accommodation for 2 nights. Conclusion: smart move  Note: do it again!

On the drive north we stopped for fish and chips at Cairndow, on the east side of Loch Fyne.

It was a glorious evening as we sat outside in the garden overlooking the loch. This hostelry has been one of our favourites when headed up to Tayvallich where the boat was.  It has changed hands and I must say, it had a nice feel about the place - smart, tidy, pleasantly busy.  The one thing we missed, however, was the old shepherd and his dog who always present in the same corner of the bar!

Here is Iain in the garden in the evening sunshine.

While I am on the subject, here is a recent photo of Iain taken by a professional photographer as the photo is needed for a publication... still looking very extinquished ... oops... distinquished!

The Bed and Breakfast decision turned out to be great success.  Heavy showers kept passing over during the Saturday BBQ and later the midges came out.  Perhaps a bit too early in the evening we said our goodbyes, and fled up the road to 'cover', that is, back to the lovely old drover's house B & B. Midges were everywhere! Arriving back, we bolted out of the car, into front door of the house (unlocked at all times), slammed the bedroom window shut and dived under the big summer duvet.  No tent walls flapping, no rain dripping through the seams, no hard ground to toss and turn on ... and no midges!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


A friend emailed me regarding the fact that today is 'Canada Day'.  I had not forgotten ... only in my day it was called 'Dominion Day'.

I downed tools this evening to take a moment to have a solitary celebration with a dish of ice-cream and some of the Canadian Ladies Club little flags from one of the luncheons. I am pleased to say we have nearly finished updating the CCC Sailing Directions for the Northeast of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland.  That is the old edition of the Shetland section that sits at my left elbow.  (Ever heard the expression "The closer you get to finishing a job the longer it takes"?)  It's true!

Anyhow instead of trying to sort my way through the 'voes' of Shetland I thought I would pull out a few Canadian photos from my archive, i.e. the few that I have scanned for whatever reason.  

This was the time of year in Canada when exams finished in June and we headed for the beach.  Phew ... I spent all my youth on the Shuswap: as soon as school was finished until the day before it started again in September!

Salmon Arm High School Graduation 1962. Not sure why this photo was taken as there appear to be gaps. 

And of course it was cherry time.  Here is the stand on the road in 1973 with baby Kim about 6 months old.  Memories of cherry-picking?  Hot, dusty and cherries went for 25 cents a pound.  As our fruit stand was on the Trans Canada Highway (Broadview Corner to be exact) I recall cars coming from the east screeching to a halt with dust flying everywhere as they stopped, doors opening and everyone piling out to look at the big cherry trees next to the highway loaded with their plump, dark red clusters of fruit.  "Look!  Cherries!"

This photo was taken by my mother in 1948 and shows the level of high water at our cabin at Canoe Beach [50°45'16.32"N   119°14'54.70"W] namely along the tracks toward Salmon Arm from the present Canoe Public Beach.  I was 4 years old then.  I recall paddling around at the back door and going (easily) under a big plank that was situated on the bank and laid so you could get access over to the back door.
This unremarkable photo was taken in 1963 in Golden, on the Kicking Horse River.  That was the year the Rodgers Pass opened and, having finished a Senior Matric year, I headed to Golden to work in the Chevron Gas Station cafe at the top of the hill on the brand new highway.  Loved it!  One abiding memory was that 'Abilene' was the tune most played on the small coin operated record machine in the cafe.  Summer job finished, I eagerly migrated to Vancouver and UBC (aged 19) ... in my '57 Chev!


Ellie was with me today.  She is nearly 6 months old now.  I have a really good pushchair for her so she decided we should walk down to the new supermarket that has opened up on the main Milngavie Road.  We needed to check out the wine section.

On the way back up the hill we stopped to smell the flowers.

... roses tumbling through a hedlge in an overgrown garden.

Harriet, 2 years old, was here yesterday and we spent the whole time out in the garden in the first of some really hot weather!

We have game we play: when she first arrives in the house she goes to the bottom drawer where there a little elf has planted some Smarties. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


I made a trip to fetch some home brew today. I only had to drive a mile but it is a part of the surrounding area which I seldom visit... Baldernock, northeast of the city of Glasgow. These photos show the countryside one mile from where we live on the north side of the city.

The countryside is very green at the moment (including pools of water evident in low lying parts of pastures).

This is Bardowie Loch in the distance with the dinghies out for the summer sailing courses.

The weather continues to be cloudy in the west of Scotland while England and the continent are having a heat-wave. Tennis has started in Wimbledon and it is very hot on the court.

Curious lighting at 1 pm today. It was like when we had the eclipse ... a bit eerie.  But the interesting thing I notice in this photo of the garden (taken on my iPhone) ...  the colours have turned out very strong - lots of different rich, deep greens and reds.

Monday, 29 June 2015


This majestic plant is very showy at the moment. It grows at the top corner of the garden next to the washing line and is in full 'bloom' (green 'flowers').

I originally got it as a small plant from a herb nursery in Argyllshire years ago and brought a bit of it from CVD. It grows robustly every year; it appears to be a perrennial but that is because ... The Royal Horticultural Society states "It is more likely to be perennial if prevented from setting seed." 

I bring big branches or sometimes just the heads in to enjoy in the house e.g.  with some current flowers from the garden.

I did a test this year.  There are always little plants that grow below the angelica plant but I never seem to get any baby angelica plants.  What's going on?
The leaves are very similar as shown in photo above.

I have now got the answer: the seeded plants below the angelica (and also absolutely everywhere else in the garden) are ground elder.  This is the little plant grown full size growing in amongst the lupins.

At the end of last year I cut the dried brown seed heads off and collected the seeds for this year.  I tried germinating them but to no avail (mind you, nothing else did either!)  I even scattered them around the garden ... nothing ... however plenty of ground elder! states that angelica  "is best known for its candied stems, used as a cake decoration. The stems and seeds for use in confectionery and flavouring and the preparation of liqueurs. (e.g. Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Vermouth and Dubonnet). Angelica seeds and angelica roots are sometimes used in making absinthe."


This is the same photo as above only made into an arty image (using 'cutout' from Photoshop).  I think the colours would make a great fabric print.

A few days later:  seeds dropping on to a sheet of paper.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


'Tis summer and the garden is full of bloom.  Yes, we have had a lot of rain which has helped the planting ... one just has to accept as collateral damage the bashed blooms and broken stems.

This is the sideboard today. Mairi and gang were in for lunch after they had been to the cinema.

Flower vase no. 1:  Clear glass vase is from Oxfam shop and is filled with blue glass beads plus a glass fish who lost his support and now sits on the bottom. The white roses and magenta dianthus are from Mairi last week. The purple flowers are from the garden andI have managed to identify as Woodland phlox.

Flower vase no. 2: Clear glass vase is (probably) IKEA and is filled with flowers from the garden. Purple irises dug originally from Anne's garden [Iris germanica, or maybe Iris sibirica?], pink flowers called Persicaria affinis 'Darjeeling Red' [Claire Austin website identifier] which is a low growing perennial common around here. Lastly the green flower in the middle is angelica 'Angleica archangelica'].  I have an enormous lush plant of it [see blog which is going to follow this one].

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


It is the time of year when I get the urge to put things into jars.  I love beets and so made a chutney which is Maggie's recipe using beets and apples.  It goes really well with smoked fish and/or potatoes done any sort of way.

At lunchtime a parcel came from Auntie Mary which included a letter about how hot it is in central British Columbia.  Oh I do miss the hot summer days and the Shuswap Lake!  However I was just mentioning to a young lady who has now finished secondary school that one of my memories of June was of getting up early to prepare for yet another end-of-year school exam. All that poetry that had to be memorized, theorems to have in your head, along with historical dates, biological genus and species .... phew! 

Baby Ellie was here today.  I placed the pushchair outside the window while she napped and I got on with the ironing!

This iris has appeared in with a group of blue ones.  I really like it ... and the raindrops pretty well sum up the general weather picture these days!